Considered by far their best chance to win over their next several games, Wednesday night's contest against the Boston Celtics felt like it had the makings of Philadelphia's first win of the season. While the two teams went into the half tied at 46, a scoring onslaught in the fourth quarter opened the gap for the Celtics. Boston would win 101-90, giving Philadelphia their 11th straight loss on the season.
Who was hot:
Boston's big men: While Boston came into tonight's contest as one of the best rebounding teams, it was in scoring where their low post players dominated. Nerlens Noel held his own, but the Celtics took advantage of the lack of cohesion between Brandon Davies and Henry Sims time and time again. Brandon Bass put in a performance reminiscent of the 2012 conference semi-finals. He finished with 23 points on 9-13 shooting and 6 rebounds. Jared Sullinger also put in a top notch performance, displaying both strong perimeter shooting and low post play. The former Ohio State forward chipped in with 22 points of his own on 10-15 shooting.
Marcus Thornton: Averaging just 6.9 points per game tonight, Thornton did a good job making up for the poor play of Avery Bradley. He scored 13 points off the bench including 3-5 from beyond the arc, giving Boston a nice scoring threat from beyond the arc.
Nerlens Noel: Overall, Noel looked a little more comfortable tonight then he did against San Antonio, finishing with 10 points on 5-10 shooting, 8 rebounds, 3 assists, and 2 steals. While Nerlens started the game with a nice turnaround, left-handed shot, playing with his back to the basket still severely limits his presence. He added a couple nice dunks, but his highlight offensively probably came off the dribble around Kelly Olynyk.
Going forward, it would certainly be nice to see him get some looks as a slasher as opposed to a post up player. It'll be more indicative of how he'll play next to Joel Embiid, and it allows him to use his two of his best assets: his speed and agility.
Who was not:
Michael Carter-Williams: The second year guard has yet to find a groove since returning to the lineup. In his first game as a starter, he finished with 11 points on 4-13 shooting, and 4 turnovers. Floor spacing caused some serious issues for him, but Carter-Williams did too much dribbling into traffic and forced some bad passes. He also took some ill-advised shots early in the shot clock, including a pull-up three that was barely lucky to hit the bottom of the net. Finding some consistency in his game is going to be big for him going forward, as it will be Noel.
Team defense: Philadelphia is still struggling matching up in the half court, and it's giving opposing teams a lot of easy looks at the basket. Tonight, Henry Sims and Brandon Davies really struggled on their assignments, and some miscommunication gave Brandon Bass a couple easy dunks in a row. For a team that is looking to pride themselves on good defensive play, they've been painful to watch there.
Philadelphia is off until Friday, where they hope to right the ship against the Phoenix Suns at the Wells Fargo Center.